Neck Carving Through Neck & Body Sanding
The neck and the body have been fit together at this point, but have been separated again for the sake of finishing. The body moves off to sanding which is seen further below. The neck however has to go through a few more stages. The neck first has to be prepped for carving in the CNC machines. This involves sanding the shoulders of the neck, gluing on the heel cap, and grinding the sides of the heel down.
Sanding the shoulders of an LV-09
Robert gluing the heelcap on an L-05-12
Matthew grinding the heel of a neck
Once the neck is prepped, it is then loaded in to the CNC machine. The necks are located on the jig by the Microdot positioning markers which were cut into the fingerboard at the time they were made. The rough shape of the neck is then carved out. Each neck takes about 6 minutes to cut.
Neck carving three P-05's.
The neck is now ready to be hand carved. Hand carving is an important part of how the instrument feels and is a very high-skill job. Jean generally carves the majority of the necks himself - Particularly the -50's and -60's. This process involves filing and sanding the shoulders, shaping the heel, and blending the binding into the neck.
Carving the shoulders of an D-05
The necks are then finish sanded by hand and a paint handle adhered to the fingerboard. We have three women who sand a total of 12-16 necks a day. That means each neck gets over two solid hours of finish sanding. Most people have this view that guitar building is this sort of mystical trade, and to a degree it is. However the majority of the labor that goes into a guitar is Sanding. Every part of the guitar both inside and out is sanded with at least three different grits of sand paper before it can enter the paint department.
Sanding the headstock on a future family heirloom.
The neck is now ready for paint. The body meanwhile is getting sanded in the body sanding department. The bodies are checked for small gaps under and around the solid wood bindings, any gaps are filled and/or sanded out. The guitar is then sanded with three different grits of sand paper, and checked twice.
Racks of bodies recently wash coated.
The bodies then have a paint handle attached and are sent into paint. At this point the guitar has had all of the oxidization removed. We want to get the first coat of finish on right away to maintain that "un-oxidized" look of the wood. We try to have the first sealer coat of finish on the guitar within 8 hours.